The Morphological Aspects of the Mandibular Fossa: A Method for Reconstructing Food Texture in Antiquity

Abdel Halim al-Shiyab, Abdulla al-Shorman


This study analyzes the variables of slope length, angle, width and depth of the mandibular fossa in archaeological populations to test the impact of consuming hard food items on them. Using those variables, the study suggests a new method for reconstructing the food texture of ancient populations, which is applied to a sample of 27 skulls from the Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) and 30 skulls from Wadi Faynan (WF): two late Roman archaeological sites. The fossae were molded using a special paste, cut longitudinally and imprinted on tracing paper in order to measure those variables. The results show that the people of WF had consumed harder food stuffs than the people of Queen Alia International Airport. Seen in longitudinal section, consumption of hard food appears to increase the angle of the mandibular fossa relative to those eating softer food.


Paleodiet, Jordan, Wadi Faynan, QAIA, Late Roman, Mandibular Fossa

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